4 digital marketing trends to embrace in 2016

Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all the posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

You don’t have a crystal ball. That makes it a bit tricky to outmuscle your competitors by predicting the next big digital marketing trends.

But don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be all guesswork. There are a few things that look nailed on to shake up digital marketing for small businesses in 2016.

Here’s your rundown:

Search: optimise for small screens

2015 saw Google finally dish out ranking penalties for websites that aren’t mobile-ready. As more and more people choose to browse the world wide web using mobile devices (rather than clunky old desktop computers and laptops), 2016 will be the year when it becomes essential to optimise your website and email marketing for tablets and smartphones.

Google is also getting astonishingly good at understanding context. Search is no longer all about specific keywords; more about the meaning behind the words you use. Your content has to satisfy the searcher’s intent while being engaging enough to make your readers stick around. That’s how you appease the Google gods.

Search goes social

Social media is changing the way we search. Google has started indexing social media content, such as tweets, making it more important to nurture your presence on the big social channels. The platforms themselves are beefing up their internal search powers too, making it easier for users to retrieve relevant content from specific social sites.

Given that today’s consumers research businesses using a variety of digital media, you can steal an advantage on your competitors by having a well-watered presence across different channels.

Launch an app, tap a new market

Another way to grow your online footprint is by publishing your own mobile app. Google already includes content from apps in its search results and the immediacy of the medium gives you an easy and convenient way to connect with your target audience. Whether you want to showcase your suite of services, share your portfolio or simply publish your latest and greatest content, launching your own app puts your business in the palm of your next customer’s hand.

Pop-ups to help drive conversion

Mid-screen pop-ups have a bad rep. Yet new research shows they can be an effective tool — when used correctly. While going for the hard sell is sure to annoy your visitors, a gentle invitation to join your email newsletter or download a white paper that’s relevant to the content your visitor has been reading is more likely to get results.

In a nutshell…

  • The widespread use of smartphones and tablets for browsing the world wide web means it’s now essential to have a website and marketing emails that function seamlessly on mobile devices
  • Google has learnt context — the meaning behind your words is now as important as the specific keywords you choose
  • As social media begins to play a bigger role in search, a well-watered presence across the main channels could help you reach new audiences and gain a competitive advantage
  • Many small businesses are beginning to consider publishing their own mobile app — doing the same could give you an easy and convenient way to connect with your customers
  • Drive email sign-ups and other goals with mid-screen pop-ups — but be sure to avoid annoying visitors with the hard sell

For more 2016 tips, check out our new guide: Email Design Best Practices: How to Design the Perfect Email in 2016

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